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  • Strategies to Address HCV Infection Among Young People who use drugs

    Posted on June 7th, 2013 TimB No comments

    The consultation participants recommended several key public health actions including:

    • Create community-led education and messaging strategies on hepatitis C risks, injection transmission risks (e.g., sharing drug preparation equipment in addition to sharing drug injection equipment), and HCV testing resources.
    • Improve and increase infrastructure for HCV surveillance and data collection.
    • Create age-appropriate (e.g., young adult) substance use and hepatitis C interventions and prevention strategies that are evidence based and effective.
    • Expand both community-based and basic science research activities to better understand how to effectively address the emerging crisis of hepatitis C infection among young IDUs.

    Discussions about this issue are ongoing among the participants and other federal and non-federal partners as we collaborate on ways to stem the tide of new HCV infections among young PWID and connect those already living with HCV to care and treatment for their infection and underlying drug use. With heightened awareness of this evolving epidemic and the attention and engagement of partners from across all sectors of society– including the voices of young people– we can make a positive difference in the lives of these young men and women.


  • Unlicensed tanning drugs increase risk of cancer

    Posted on May 28th, 2013 TimB No comments

    Unlicensed tanning jabs commonly used and sold in beauty salons or bought over the internet increase the risk of cancer, doctors have warned.

    The Irish Medicines Board statement comes after a 33-year-old woman presented at St Vincent’s Hospital in Dublin with several irregular moles on her skin after receiving two injections of the so-called ‘Barbie Doll’ tanning drug, Melanotan, at a beautician’s.

    Doctors said, despite widespread bans and health warnings, the jabs were openly and easily available here at tanning parlours, spas and gyms.

    In the current edition of the Irish Medical Journal (IMJ), the medics said the case highlighted the risk of “possibly malignant melanoma” linked to the use of Melanotan injections. They said Melanotan is 1,000 times more powerful than the naturally occurring hormone that brings about tanning.

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  • Three out of four heroin addicts ‘also hooked on other drugs’

    Posted on May 28th, 2013 TimB No comments

    Merchants Quay Ireland (MQI) revealed half of the users at its needle exchange programme injected heroin six times or more times in one week.

    The addiction and homeless charity also found 75% of users took other drugs including the prescribed detox substitute methadone, benzodiazepine tranquilisers, cannabis, alcohol, steroids and cocaine.

    Tony Geoghegan, MQI chief executive, said most detoxification centres are aimed at people who use only a single substance such as heroin.

    “The report confirms people are still using heroin, but polydrug use is now the dominant trend,” he said.

    “This means detox services in Ireland have to match the need. In Ireland there are currently no detox options for this group.”

    There are an estimated 20,000 heroin addicts in Ireland, with 10,000 men and women on a methadone programme and just 38 detox beds nationwide for treatment.

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  • Calls for radical change to chaotic addiction services across Ireland

    Posted on March 25th, 2013 TimB No comments

    Existing guidelines for those working with opiate users are controversial and heavily criticised, and a report seen by MI recommends a radical overhaul of how services are delivered. James Fogarty investigates

    The struggle to both balance the books and keep the health services afloat is an all consuming one. Drug addiction services are perhaps one of the casualties of this focus. Although recent figures compiled by the Health Research Board (HRB) said the annual number of drug-related deaths and deaths among drug users in Ireland decreased from 652 in 2009 to 575 in 2010, problems remain. Budget reductions, a continued scarcity of services outside the capital, and concern over the ICGP’s opiate treatment guidelines have combined to make a difficult area of medicine even more challenging.

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  • The Irish Medicines Board (IMB) safety alert on Melanotan

    Posted on September 29th, 2012 TimB No comments

    ‘Tan jab’ continues to pose a risk to health, warns IMB

    The Irish Medicines Board (IMB) today reiterated a precautionary safety alert in relation to  the unauthorised tanning medicine Melanotan (I and II) which is illegal on the Irish market.  This product is not available in pharmacies or authorised distribution channels in Ireland and  it is thought that it is being sourced by consumers on the internet. There is no evidence that it is safe or effective. The IMB has previously warned of the risk of side-effects, ranging from  nausea to headaches and other unknown outcomes. The IMB is advising any consumers  who are currently using this product to cease doing so immediately and consult with their doctor or pharmacist. This product is not authorised in any country in Europe.

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  • DÁIL QUESTIONS addressed to the Minister of State at the Department of Health (Ms. Shortall) by Deputies for WRITTEN ANSWER on 18/09/2012 – Needle exchange and supervised injecting facilities

    Posted on September 18th, 2012 TimB No comments

    DÁIL QUESTIONS addressed to the Minister of State at the Department of Health (Ms. Shortall) by Deputies  for WRITTEN ANSWER on 18/09/2012

    * To ask the Minister for Health if he will support this issue on syringes (details supplied) in County Limerick..
    - Finian McGrath T.D.

    For WRITTEN answer on Tuesday, 18th September, 2012.

    * To ask the Minister for Health his plans to roll out supervised injection sites across the country, if he will provide an update as to the whereabouts and timeframe associated with this, if he will comment on the progress to date; and if he will make a statement on the matter.
    - Ciara Conway T.D.

    For WRITTEN answer on Tuesday, 18th September, 2012.

    * To ask the Minister for Health the efforts he is making to support the Anna Liffey drug Project in Dublin; his position on supervised injection sites in this State; and if he will make a statement on the matter.
    - Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin T.D.

    For WRITTEN answer on Tuesday, 18th September, 2012.

    * To ask the Minister for Health his views on the calls for the provision of supervised injections sites; and if he will make a statement on the matter.
    - Billy Kelleher T.D.

    For WRITTEN answer on Tuesday, 18th September, 2012.

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  • University College Cork Drug Awareness and Reform Society “Drug Policy Reform in Ireland”

    Posted on September 18th, 2012 TimB No comments

    On Wednesday 26th of September one of UCC’s newest societies, the Drug Awareness and Reform Society is hosting its first event. The talk “Drug Policy Reform in Ireland” takes place at Boole Basement 3 in UCC at 7pm.

    Speaking on the night is Criminologist and author of “The Irish War on Drugs: The Seductive Folly of Prohibition” Dr.Paul O’Mahony. He will be discussing the need for reform of Irish drug policy and raising many interesting points.

    Also speaking is Tim Bingham of the Irish Needle Exchange Forum, The INEF aims to develop, support and sustain networks of needle exchanges and other harm reduction services across Ireland. Mr.Bingham will be discussing safer injecting facilities.

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  • The untold truth about “bath salt” highs:A case series demonstrating local tissue injury

    Posted on September 17th, 2012 TimB No comments

    Chemically related to the internationally controlledsubstance cathinone, cathinone derivatives such as mephedrone first emerged in 2007 as a substitute for illicitstimulant drugs such as cocaine and ecstasy.Advertised as“bath salts” and available in a powder form at 15 per 0.5 g, they can be taken orally, insufated or injectedintravenously. Prior to the introduction of legislation in May2010 controlling a broad range of psychoactive substances. These products were readily available in head shops acrossIreland. These inexpensive substances were increasinglyused by intravenous drug abusers and led to a signi?cantincrease in local complications around the injection site.We discuss four cases that presented to a single insti-tution in Dublin from February to May 2010 with soft tissuecomplications as a direct result of this practice. Patient demographics, mechanism of injury, presentation,management and outcomes were recorded (Table 1) with accompanying images.


  • Quarterly Report on HIV, Quarter 2, 2012 – Ireland

    Posted on September 14th, 2012 TimB No comments

    This report presents data on new HIV diagnoses notified to the Health Protection Surveillance Centre (HPSC) in Quarter 2 2012. Since 1 st January, 2012, HIV cases have been reported to HPSC on a weekly basis using the Computerised Infectious Disease Reporting (CIDR) system. HIV data for this report were extracted from the CIDR system on 7 th August 2012. A detailed annual HIV report will be published in 2013.
    Key Points – Quarter 2 2012

    •  There were 68 new diagnoses of HIV infection notified to the HPSC in Quarter 2 2012.
    • Of the 68 new diagnoses in Quarter 2 31 (45.6%) were men who have sex with men (MSM), 21 (30.9%) were heterosexuals and 1
    • (1.5%) was an Injecting Drug User (IDU). No Mother to Child Transmission (MTCT) cases were reported in Quarter 2.    71% (48) were male and 29% (20) were female.
    •  Median age was 34 years (range 19?71 years).
    • The total number of new HIV diagnoses notified in Quarter 1&2 2012 is 157.   Up to the 30 th August, 2012, 114 enhanced forms (72%) had been received by Departments of Public Health


  • What MDMA is doing to your brain

    Posted on September 13th, 2012 TimB No comments

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